The researchers report in the journal Chest, that obese patients should achieve a certain level of fitness before having the surgery, and that their lack of physical fitness could raise the threat of serious complications following obesity surgery.
It has been reported that the weight-loss surgery commonly known as Bariatric surgery is fast becoming an increasingly popular treatment among people who are morbidly obese or at least 100 pounds overweight. The surgery that can be performed in several ways has a common goal in changing the structure of the digestive tract to restrict the amount of food a person can ingest and absorb.
The researchers explained that the surgery by itself is a major procedure with a risk of complications that could even include death. They further explained that there were not yet any uniform standards for assessing the possible complication that the person who has undergone the surgery might suffer from.
Dr. Peter A. McCullough, the study's lead author said, "We believe ours is the first paper demonstrating that fitness should be a consideration." McCullough and his colleagues at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, in their study followed 109 patients who had their fitness estimated on treadmill tests before undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
The bypass surgery involves stapling of the stomach to create a small pouch, and then attaching a portion of the small intestine directly to the pouch so that food bypasses the rest of the stomach and part of the intestines. The researchers found in their study that patients with a poor fitness level, almost 17% of them had suffered from a serious short-term complication due to the procedure, like kidney failure, clots, in blood vessels, or even, as with one case stroke, and in one case death. They also but found that in contrast, in the patients who were fit during the procedure less than 3% of them had any complications or any death.
Based on their study the researchers came to the conclusion that the fitness tests could very well indicate how the heart, lungs and blood vessels would function under stress. They were of the opinion that the combination of morbid obesity and low fitness levels may make surgery patients particularly susceptible to short-term complications.
Dr. McCullough hoped that these findings could change practice around the country, The researchers advised that once fitness tests spot potentially high-risk patients, they be put on an exercise and weight-loss plan, and that after about three months, they can have their fitness re-evaluated to see if they're ready for surgery.